Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals

4.4 13
Director: Chris Eyre

Cast: Adam Beach, Evan Adams, Irene Bedard

     
 

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This dramatic feature was written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans. Native American writer Sherman Alexie scripted this adaptation of his 1993 short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Director Chris Eyre's previous short Someone Kept Saying Powwow is incorporated into the 88-minute feature. Developed at theSee more details below

Overview

This dramatic feature was written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans. Native American writer Sherman Alexie scripted this adaptation of his 1993 short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Director Chris Eyre's previous short Someone Kept Saying Powwow is incorporated into the 88-minute feature. Developed at the Sundance Lab in 1995, the film was a winner of both the Audience Award and the Filmmakers' Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. In 1976, an infant survives a fire that kills his parents. In a flash forward to the present day, the infant has grown up to become the skinny, nerdy adult Thomas (Evan Adams). At Idaho's desolate Coeur d'Alene Indian reservation, the overeager youth is mostly ignored by others, including stoic athletic Victor Joseph (Adam Beach), even though it was Victor's father, alcoholic Arnold Joseph (Gary Farmer), who saved the infant Thomas' life in the fire. A drunken Arnold later abandoned his family, and Victor hasn't seen his father in a decade. When Victor learns of Arnold's death in Phoenix, Thomas offers to pay for the trip to Phoenix if he can accompany Victor. They make an odd couple since Victor is embarrassed by Thomas' geekiness. In Phoenix, they find that Arnold lived in a small trailer in the desert, and they meet Arnold's friend Suzy Song (Irene Bedard), who provides disturbing truths about Arnold that impact on Victor.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Smoke Signals gained notoriety for being the first major release to be directed by, written by, and star Native Americans. While the film takes a look at the many factors affecting the Native American community (alcoholism, reservation life), it also addresses in pointed, but not overbearing, ways the history of the Native American onscreen. The two lead characters represent these two areas of concern. Evan Adams, in a performance that should have received deafening praise, delivers Thomas' wonderful stories ("fine examples of the oral tradition") with a joy that is infectious. This character presents a strong argument that Native Americans were born to tell stories, so why should anyone question them directing movies? Adam Beach's Victor makes the difficult emotional journey in the film. He must learn to make peace with his personal history after his estranged, alcoholic father dies. His anger and stoicism are real, but they are also the masks of a young man who has hid from himself for too long. The character arguably represents the filmmakers' attitude toward their own history. What makes Smoke Signals special is that, while addressing specific aspects of Native American life, it is so universal. Everyone must confront where they came from (both personally and as a people) at some point in life. Smoke Signals should not be praised for being a Native American movie; it should be praised for being a warm, humorous, truthful film about people.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/28/2011
UPC:
0096009770990
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Miramax Echo Bridge
Time:
1:30:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Adam Beach Victor Joseph
Evan Adams Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Irene Bedard Suzy Song
Gary Farmer Arnold Joseph
Tantoo Cardinal Arlene Joseph
Cody Lightning Young Victor Joseph
Simon Baker Young Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Simon Baker Young Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Michelle St. John Velma
Robert Miano Burt
Molly Cheek Penny
Monique Mojica Grandma Builds-the-Fire
Elaine Miles Lucy
Michael Greyeyes Junior Polatkin
Leonard George Lester Fallsapart
John Trudell Randy Peone
Darwin Haine Boo
Tom Skerritt Police Chief
Cynthia Geary Cathy The Gymnast
Perrey Reeves Holly

Technical Credits
Chris Eyre Director,Co-producer
Sherman Alexie Co-producer,Screenwriter
Charles Armstrong Production Designer
Roger Baerwolf Associate Producer
Brian Berdan Editor
Carl Bressler Executive Producer
Brian Capener Cinematographer
Larry Estes Producer
Dawn Ferry Set Decoration/Design
Ron Leamon Costumes/Costume Designer
Coreen Mayrs Casting
Scott Rosenfelt Producer
Jonathon Saturen Art Director
Jo Shilling Asst. Director
David Skinner Executive Producer
B.C. Smith Score Composer
Randy Suhr Associate Producer
Douglas Tourtelot Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Smoke Signals
1. House Fire [4:29]
2. Thomas and Victor [5:56]
3. Reservation Blues [6:19]
4. Hitching a Ride [4:10]
5. Cathy the Gymnast [4:39]
6. Nobody [4:50]
7. No More Drinking [6:16]
8. Respectable Thomas [5:56]
9. Arnold's Ashes [6:34]
10. The Worst Thing [5:00]
11. Memories [8:37]
12. Accident [5:52]
13. Heroes [3:55]
14. Starting Over [6:30]
15. Forgiveness [9:35]

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